Every now and then I like to tempt fate and send my husband out of town on a work trip during a wicked cold snap in the middle of flu season.
Because what, I ask you, is more fun than cleaning up vomit while constantly tending a fire, corralling three dogs, breastfeeding on demand AND nailing your role as a human-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich factory? That wasn’t a rhetorical question, there’s actually an answer: losing sleep!!! Ding ding ding–awakening sharply out of a dead sleep by a high-pitched crying sound right next to your face, for the win!
Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death.
I feel both brave and scared fresh ta death whenever Caleb’s not here. Between murderers and robbers and coyotes and mice, I have trouble deciding what terrifying thoughts are gonna keep me awake at night. But sometimes, luck smiles on me and I only have to worry about catching a virus that will incapacitate me for days, or at least 12 hours which might as well be days when you have an infant. I ponder these things at 2 a.m. as I sit up with my son, who doesn’t want to throw up alone.
I ponder these things as I stoke the fire, which has died down since midnight, which was the last time I was up with Arbor, who screams bloody murder from her bed that she needs to go to the bathroom and that I need to carry her, because she’s rightly afraid of Bigfoot.
I am the sword in the darkness.
I admit that I am probably at my worst as a mother when someone interrupts my sleep and proceeds to whine about their problems and writhe in agony and there’s nothing I can say except to tell them they’re probably gonna throw up, and all that’s left to do is just to sit and wait for it.
I am the watcher on the walls.
No one wants to throw up alone, not even me. In fact, I’m 37 years old and I still want my mommy when my head is in the toilet. I can’t have her of course, so I have to settle for telling Caleb that I threw up. Because you have to tell somebody; they have to know. I ponder these things too, as I steel my mind and will all my cells to fight whatever evil germ has invaded my home. I must stay strong and healthy.
I am the shield that guards the realms of children 13 and under.
Because dag nabbit, I might not be able to stop a murderer, but I can take a temperature, dole out the saltines, and sit with a sick child all hours of the night like a straight-up boss. I’m a mother and that’s what we do best.
For this night and for all the nights to come.
But y’all do not ask me to remain standing on the ground if there’s a mouse.